We are now settling into 2015 – transformational times no less which quite naturally invoke a feeling of trepidation. Tectonic shifts in our socio-economic models, strategic and operational management and leadership development are metamorphosing our prevalent paradigm into something as different in look and feel as a butterfly is from a caterpillar.
In the early stages of a pupa’s metamorphosis, cells quite different from the caterpillar organise into groups. These ‘imaginal cells’ run up again the opposition of the old caterpillar’s immune system which perceives them as a threat to the caterpillar’s existence. Over time, as the system of the old caterpillar begins to breakdown, these new formations spawn forth the structures, processes and logic of the butterfly; ditto for the metamorphosis in our midst.
We know an era is ending and a new one being conceived when the fundamental assumptions and illusions of the old worldview are exhausted by their inability to deal with the challenges of the day. Yesterday’s logic understands Nature as purposeless, devoid of meaning and consciousness. This materialism creates an illusion of separation which underpins our cultural tendency towards short-termist profiteering, control-based silo’ed thinking, and divide-and-rule behaviour; what Gregory Bateson calls a paradigm for extinction. In short, we have become inured by a corrupting logic that undermines our very evolution.
The good news is that through recent discoveries in quantum science, depth psychology, neuroscience, facilitation ecology and many other fields of research, this out-dated logic is now breaking down, giving way to a fresh yet ancient logic inspired by Nature. Rather than viewing life as mechanistic with humans separate from and in competition with life, we are opening up to a deeper perspective of life as innately conscious, participatory and sacred. Yet, as economist Joseph Gustav Speth warns us, proposals for transforming our systemic logic will be derided and, when they gain traction, resisted at every turn, much like the imaginal cells in the early stages of metamorphosis.
Many of today’s organisational pioneers and cultural change agents go unnoticed, catalysing transformation by applying a deeper wisdom beyond illusion – compassion rather than competition, empathy rather than egotism, synchronicity rather than separateness, service rather than selfishness, reciprocity rather than robbery. And this is not new – business finds its origins in value-creation through service provision for its community. Likewise, the roots of Western philosophy and science draw from Nature’s wisdom. For the ancient Greeks, to embody the inherent grammar running throughout life is the ultimate goal of philosophy (the word originating from philia the Greek for ‘love’ and Sophia ‘wisdom’ – to love and embody the wisdom flowing throughout Nature).
And yet many of today’s attempted solutions apply out-dated materialistic and anthropocentric logic without stepping back to question it. If we have any hope of rectifying the error of our ways in 2015, the logic that sets us apart from Nature needs to be put right at its root. The word ‘radical’ originates from radix, the Latin for ‘root’. The paradigm shift now upon us has to deal with the root source of our flawed logic and so be radical – philosophically, scientifically, culturally and economically. Deep and complex influences within our own psyche, our collective consciousness and in the structures pervading our culture are being challenged to radically reshape; at its heart this paradigm shift challenges the very way we view the world and ourselves as embodied within it.
In recognising that we are expressions within Nature and that our own rational and intuitive consciousness is immersed within a deeper field – the ground of our being – we may begin to open our minds to reality beyond the illusion of separation. It is this radical perspective of reality that the great minds of Jung, Einstein, Da Vinci, Confucius and many others understood. As spiritual ecologist Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee explains through his profound work, we are waking up to the awareness of our relationship between our individual soul and the world soul of Nature. In his words, ‘It is only through awakening to an awareness of the sacred within creation, and its relationship to our own sacred nature, that we can begin to redeem the primal imbalance that lies at the root of our present predicament.’
It is this recognition, no less, that will we ensure our solutions are both inspired by AND in harmony with Nature – the only viable future for humanity on Earth. Humanity is collectively on the cusp of evolving this deeper awareness, and each of us has the conscious choice in the days and weeks ahead to courageously embrace our destiny as imaginal cells in this metamorphic undertaking.
You can access a podcast series on this shift in our midst here bit.ly/1Gj31TL
Nature is continually unfolding in a process of transforming what is forming. The Latin root of the word nature is natura which means ‘to give birth’, to creatively become.
This creative reaching beyond present possibilities, circumstances and perceived limitations in order to learn, develop, diversify and evolve, is the dynamic of life.
Foundational to this creative dynamic are inter-relations and the tensions these inter-relations provide; a communing of opposing tensions – the yin/yang of life. For the ancient Chinese, there is no ‘and’ between the yin quality and the yang quality because yin is not separate from yang, rather there is a communing within the cycle of Nature (the circle within which the yin/yang reciprocate). There is no separation only tensions of reciprocity; attuning through yielding and asserting while seeking harmony.
This coherence of yin/yang tensions lies at the heart of T’ai Chi philosophy which aims to embody the wisdom of Nature through the integration of the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of life. Every flower and unfolding moment contains this innate wisdom. Every vibration of energy embodies the yin/yang dance of life within the deeper matrix of the Nature. Our own bodyminds and natural awareness is nested within this vast oceanic interplay of receptivity (yin) and responsiveness (yang).
Life is our best teacher, continually unfolding challenges/opportunities for us to dance within this receptive-responsive reciprocity. Sometimes we need a little more receptivity in opening ourselves up to others, sometimes a little more responsiveness. And so challenges can be seen as opportunities to transform our perceptions, patterns of behaviour and mind-sets, so that we can open up and reciprocate with others in a deeper way.
A powerful yet simple illustration of how to bring this co-creative improvisational dance of life alive in both our minds and bodies is to learn to dance with one another in a receptive, responsive, reciprocating way. To begin with, two people might pair up as partners, a short distance apart with legs astride and touching hands. One chooses to be assertive ‘leader’ and the other yielding ‘follower’. At first with a rocking to and fro linear motion, then perhaps transforming into a circular motion, the two move synchronously. A rhythm develops, as with a swinging pendulum, but the movement is dependent on the leader’s self-centred awareness and associated effort, regardless of what the follower may be experiencing. So the movement could not really be called a ‘dance’ in the fullest sense, in which each is equally and vitally involved in partnership. The follower might as well not be there: if the leader is tired, the movement will be tired; if the leader is full of energy, the movement will be energetic, but creatively restricted and fatiguing. If at some stage, however, the leader becomes sensitive to the movement of the follower and attunes to this so as to ‘follow the follower’, the result is a mutual effortlessness where each is alive within the influence of the other. Both co-create without a pre-defined trajectory and so improvise in a continually innovative way.
To flow in such an open, mutually inclusive way requires an attuning of our mental and bodily awareness both to each other and the co-evolving movement. Correspondingly, the dance itself responds to our ever changing receptive-responsive dynamic. If, for example, while we are dancing co-creatively – with neither trying to lead and both following the communing flow – one partner becomes more assertive, the other may respond either by becoming more yielding or by becoming more resistive. The dance either loses is co-creative fluidity or it becomes tense and jerky. By the same token, if both partners remain passive, the dance won’t happen at all.
Yang characteristics Yin characteristics
(source – Pioneering the Possible, Scilla Elsworthy)
Rather than an overly-yang, overly-competitive way of attending to life, whereupon we perceive life as a struggle of each against other, by learning to attune our yin-yang dynamic we begin to see life as an improvisational process of each naturally included in the other’s co-creative influence. We move forward, learn and evolve through our responsive ambition and receptive ability to flex, attune and reciprocate within an ever-changing improvisational dance of natural energy flow.
‘When male and female combine,
All things achieve harmony.’ Lao Tzu
The word harmony has its root in the Greek harmonia meaning ‘to fit together’. Diverse influences integrate in a way that creates the harmonious ‘music of life’ – a pleasant attunement of differences. The rhythm and resonance these harmonising tensions provide invoke the experience of beauty within us. And so we can understand that the creation of life’s beauty is through the dynamic communing of reciprocal influences. It is life’s challenges that provide the opportunities for us to develop, diversify and become more than we are.
Ultimately, all of life and evolution is a co-creative dance of inter-relational tensions. We may discover that the trick to finding attunement within the dance is in getting to know oneself by exploring the interior attunement of our being and the inner-outer dynamic of our daily life. By becoming ever-more conversant with the soulful, spiritual, mental, emotional and physiological aspects of our selves, we learn to refine our dance through learning more about our selves. As we attune, we allow our creative potential to flow through all that we do; synchronicity flows and we become ones in communion within the dance, not ones singularly at odds with other; we attune with spirit, soul, Tao, Nature. As the poet Rumi noted, ‘I am the flute, but the music is thine.’
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To access a free podcast series about this see bit.ly/1Gj31TL
Quantum scientists are now confirming the existence of an all-pervasive presence which is everywhere, permeating everything; a spacious presence flowing throughout reality from which energy and matter are birthed. Scientists call this the quantum vacuum, zero-point energy, bio-force or life-force energy and it is the same phenomenon as what the ancient mystics, seers, shamans, philosophers and prophets have long spoken of: Akasha, Tao, Shekinah, Divine Ground, Motherly Space, etc.
‘The true ground of all being is the infinite, intangible, spirit that infuses all living beings’ David Bohm
Astrophysicist Bernard Haisch and others have referred to this all-pervasive field as an underlying sea of quantum light, from which all matter and energy originates. Like crests of waves emerge from the ocean, electromagnetic energy projects within our space-time dimension from this oceanic all-pervasive presence.
Our creation, as we perceive it, is formed from charged, polarised energy projecting particle-like from the uncharged background sea of quantum energy.
This quantum vision of reality transforms everything we knew of life and enables us to explain the inter-relatedness of life we may sometimes intuit.
This all-pervasive underlying grammar of Nature has been explained in esoteric ways by all major religions as the primordial pattern of creation. Ancient mythology explains that the original Logos or Word or eternal OM is a primordial vibration from which diversity of all forms and patterns within creation evolve.
This all-pervasive primordial vibration creates a vortex motion, which in three-dimensional space is referred to as the ‘seed of life’, which creates the ‘egg of life’ the basis of all music and all vibrational harmonies, which then creates all energy systems in Nature, for instance the cell embryonic divisions in our own bodies.
As the ‘egg of life’ develops further it produces the ‘flower of life’ from which is revealed the ‘fruit of life’ which contains the long revered, Metatron’s Cube. This is often deemed the most sacred of structures, consisting of thirteen interlaced spheres – thirteen informational systems – containing the Platonic Solids (the 3-dimensional polyhedron shapes of the cube, icosahedron, tetrahedron, octahedron and dodecahedron). These energy systems can be found in all levels of creation ranging from water crystals, plant growth, DNA, our human bodies and the formation of galaxies.
The great Renaissance genius of the 15th century, Leonardo Da Vinci, used the flower of life in many of his pioneering inventions.
At the turn of the 17th century mathematician and astronomer Johannes Kepler made reference to these ancient geometric shapes in his astronomy of the solar system, which he saw as exemplifying the attunement of the physical and spiritual dimensions of reality. Also the 20th century inventor Buckminster Fuller made reference to these geometric patterns and concepts in his ‘synergistic’ worldview. Yet knowledge of these ancient geometric shapes spans back to Plato, to Pythagoras, to the ancient Magi alchemists and Druidic Celts and further back to the old Religions of Tantra and Shamanism.
The ancient images of the ‘flower of life’ have been found throughout the world, for instance, in the temples in Egypt and at ancient sacred sites in Assyria, India, China, Mesoamerican Maya and also in European Celtic art.
It is as if there is an inherent wisdom contained within life that the ancients knew of and which our recent scientific endeavours are starting to uncover – a primordial vibratory field, a music of the spheres, Musica universalis. This is the sacred Song of Nature which we are all immersed, and participate, within.
Such ‘sacred geometry’ can be applied within the design of sacred buildings in order to help our attunement with the divine. For instance, medieval stain-glass windows, wooden or stone bosses on ceilings and handrails, intricate arches, altar and chancel screens, and so on. The architects, masons and knights of medieval times were aware of the deeper wisdom such patterns imbued. With modern neuroscience, we now recognise that such patterns and forms encourage a coherence of our left-brain and right-brain hemispheres along with an entrainment of our heads and hearts. This allows for a deeper contemplative receptivity within our bodyminds, and so aiding our attunement with the inherent wisdom flowing all around and within us. Much of this sacred knowledge has been overlooked in our consumerist materialism, but it is always here, never lost.
‘This divine ground is within and all around us. We need to create a sanctuary within ourselves to listen to its guidance’ Anne Baring
The good news is that we do not need to be philosophically or esoterically inclined to attune with this ground of all being. All we need to do is to open ourselves up to our natural awareness, freed from our ego-chatter. It is through the presencing of life, uncluttered from our habituations and pre-occupations of past and future, that we allow the deeper wisdom of life to come through us and enrich our perceptions, intuition and insight.
Every blade of grass and flower has this intrinsic wisdom. Likewise within us at partly unconscious levels flows this ancient, intuitive consciousness. It is everywhere, the all-pervasive primordial consciousness flowing within every evolving moment; to re-cognise this is to awaken to the awe-inspiring reality of our role as conscious co-creators within this participatory evolution of life.
‘To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour’ – William Blake
The underlying ‘quantum vacuum’ with its immense vibratory wisdom is the underlying Dance of Life – the animating principle pervading the universe out of which the un-manifest becomes manifest.
The ancient and timeless Tantric and Shamanic traditions speak of the engulfing cosmic womb (or ‘yoni’) which gives birth to the manifest upon conception with the conscious spark of energy potential (or ‘lingam’). This is the sacred masculine of our psychic quicksilver fertilising the Divine Feminine, the ground of our being (or ‘anima mundi’).
Learning to attune our every-day awareness and creative potential within this deeper soulful consciousness allows for a conscious awakening of this ancient wisdom whereupon we harmonise within the soulful depths of Nature – true sustainability.
With our attention and intention we can align ourselves to the vortex of our true nature, right here, right now, allowing our bodyminds to attune with the pulsation of our souls nested within the pulsation of Nature’s Soul within the deeper cosmic soul.
Like yin-yang, our consciousness and the underlying Dance of Life are inseparable yet attuning; the dancer and the dance. To attune with this inherent wisdom – what the ancient Greeks referred to as Sophia – is the beginning of authenticity, spawning right thought, word and deed – the source of Truth. To perceive this harmonisation within Nature is a very human quality. It is very much of this world, of this moment and our bodies and senses are alchemic vessels that concoct and co-create with this Song of Nature in order to realise our destiny as fully actualised wise beings (Homo sapiens).
These transformational times beckon us to wake up to this Song of Songs, through our passionate, compassionate, loving embrace of our self-Self, self-other, self-Nature interrelations. As we open up to this primordial wisdom of Love, we begin to realise that the awakening of self comes with the awakening of others, a collective humanitarian shift in consciousness no less.
To explore ‘the new paradigm’ further, join the Face Book community here
Here is a link to a short video of a talk I gave in London recently.
From as early as I can recall, I have been deeply in love with life, awe-struck by its amazing beauty and unfathomable intrinsic and exquisite richness. Throughout my life, however, I have endured wounding experiences as it dawned on me the extent to which our prevalent way of life defecates, with scant regard, this sacred beauty in our midst.
While there is much to be down-beat about these days, inured as we are by a paradigm short on love and big on fear, it is a period where our scientific discoveries are verifying the ancient knowing that consciousness pervades all aspects of our world and universe. Innate at all scales of our microcosmic and macrocosmic worlds is an all-pervasive presence, a cosmic ocean, matrix or womb; what quantum scientists call a ‘quantum vacuum’ and mystics before us have called the Tao, Akasha, Shekinah, Divine Ground, Motherly Space, Cosmic Intellect.
Everything dances with its own unique vibration yet immersed within the deeper symphony of life: the music of the spheres. Consciousness is a universal phenomenon with individual beings displaying their own uniqueness yet embodied within this universal consciousness. We are differentiated yet not separated; diversity a beautiful display of unity. This is the sacredness of life.
Science and spirituality, psychic and physical, nature and nurture, mind and matter, yin and yang co-create as communing lovers, interplaying in a way that makes the word ‘and’ between them a poor representation of reality. Words, as Ralph Waldo Emerson knew, cannot cover the dimensions of truth, they only chop up, fragment and so impoverish it. In reality, there is no fragmenting separation, no ‘and’ nor ‘either/or’, only a fluid attunement of co-creative tensions.
And so, our modern minds – plagued as we are with the illusion of separation, self-created in order to grasp, define and manipulate the ever-changing fluid flux of this world – are beginning to perceive a deeper reality beyond the confines of our materialism. This beginning is an awakening, no less, which comes with the profound, ancient realisation that we are participating within the intelligent process of our own evolution nested within the soulful destiny of Nature. This awakening is a metamorphosis of our prevailing anthropocentric logic underlying today’s rampant consumerism transforming into the wise logic of being inspired by and in harmony with Nature.
‘It is only through awakening to an awareness of the sacred within creation, and of its relationship to our own sacred nature, that we can begin to redeem the primal imbalance that lies at the root of our present predicament.’ Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
As Confucius said five centuries before Christ, ‘He who is harmony with Nature hits the mark without effort and apprehends the truth without thinking.’ In seeing beyond the illusion of separation we begin to attune with the wisdom of life itself, the wave realising its part of the ocean, the knower and the known empathically embracing their reciprocity, and the unity within diversity becoming self-evident.
Sacred ecology – or spiritual ecology (as Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee writes about in Spiritual Ecology) – is born from this attunement, and is essential for the ‘Great Turning’ now in our midst. Here, the separate self becomes a differentiated expression within deeper Nature: our souls attune within the oceanic anima mundi. Here we re-cognise the wisdom of Nature as within and all around us: reciprocity, diversity, co-creativity, fluidity, resilience, emergence, divinity, grace, consciousness.
This is a far cry from the centralised, hierarchic, control-based, reductionist, quantised logic pervading many of today’s commercial, social, environmental, religious, governmental and non-profit organisations. Bring on the revolution of the soul; 2015 is the year for metamorphosis no less.
Life’s destiny = learning to love: learning to love our selves (our conscious and unconscious depths of mind, heart, body, soul), to love each other (relating authentically through our quality of attention in opening up to the unfolding reciprocity of life), and to love Nature (the matrix of life itself, the cosmic womb of our being and becoming, the all-pervasive Sophia flowing through and beyond us)…this is the magic of radical sustainability and it needs no money, no manipulation, no hurry, no worry, no stress; a path that leads to our authentic being in the world through courage and wisdom.
We do not need to impose another ideology or set of beliefs onto reality. Instead, we need to hold space for opening and heightening our attention individually and collectively – this way we can allow the truth to co-creatively emerge free from dogma. Nature, within and all around us, is the participating aliveness of this co-creativity. There is no better time and place than the situation we find ourselves in for us to open our hearts and minds to Nature – this is the beginning of a truly sustainable logic: inspired by and in harmony with Nature.
Here is a link to a short video of a talk I gave in London recently.
The infamous quest of the Holy Grail is a mysterious one infused with ago-old wisdom, a quest of the soul no less. As the ancient Greece philosopher Heraclitus noted,
‘You could not discover the limits of the soul, even if you travelled by every path in order to do so; so profound is its meaning.’ – Heraclitus
Yet, is not the quest of the soul the dream and destiny of humanity?
Last week I gave a workshop in London at an event hosted by The Islington Hub and Akasha Innovation. What a lovely group of people attended and actively took part. One fine chap, Charles, took the opportunity to write a poem. It is not usual for me to have a poem dedicated to me after a workshop, a kind gift from one human to another and I share this poem here, as a Christmas gift to us all.
The world within, without
People need a pill.
When they’ve got so ill.
A mind full of motive,
And never still. Read more…
The root word of ‘leadership’ is ‘leith’ which means to cross the threshold, to let go of old ways, mind-sets and logic in order to embrace the new; a new way of attending to ourselves, each other and the world. It asks us to recognise the vitality of co-creating new ways of operating beyond the confines of pre-defined outcomes, and demands a metamorphosis no less from fear to courage.
Leadership is, first and foremost, an attitude to life. Life asks each of us to lead in myriad ways, to reach beyond self-interest for the benefit of something greater. By allowing space and time within our hectic busi-ness we may allow ourselves to open up to the inner and outer depths of ourselves. Here are three tips to aid this:
- Stillness- in slowing down we allow the ego-chatter in our minds to quieten, providing a chance for our awareness to deepen. If we honour this stillness on a regular basis – whether as structured meditation, a morning walk or time alone during a work break – we may allow a deeper consciousness to flow beyond the superficial stream of chatter. This deeper ground of our being – which I call Nature – is an all-pervasive receptive presence that underpins every evolving moment.
- Synchronicity – As we consciously bring this stillness into the movement of our lives, we may become more aware of synchronistic events, subtly lit pathways and intuitive guidance. In learning to listen to the wisdom of Nature found through the well-springs of the heart, we improve our responsiveness to life’s dance.
- Small steps – Each moment offers us the chance to embrace life with loving attention through our hearts freed from pre-conceived notions, fears and judgements. In opening our hearts to each interrelation we learn to lead with courage (its Latin root ‘cor’ meaning heart). Here we truly listen to our deeper self and others; we provide a space of reciprocity for sharing authentically within an atmosphere of trust. We co-create solutions uncluttered by the same thinking that created the problems in the first place.
These three movements – receptivity, responsiveness, reciprocity – allow us to courageously embrace the journey of a lifetime, breaking out beyond the shell of our tiny egos into the inter-relational matrix of Nature. Manifesting this in my own life is not a plain sail rather a continuous learning process.
There have been numerous life-defining moments for me, two worth mentioning here regarding my work-life. In 2008 I gave up a well-respected job as Head of Practice for a large management consultancy and set up a sustainability solutions offering from scratch. Tough times as the recession kicked-in with organisations perceiving sustainability as a nice-to-have.
Yet I was passionately energised, learnt a great deal and found friends along the way. Then in 2012, I took a bigger leap off the cliff-face of security, status and salary by resigning as Global Director of Sustainability for a large multi-national to embrace the unchartered horizons of being a writer, speaker, adviser and work-from-home Dad and husband. No more executive breakfast meetings or long haul flights, instead I found myself exploring the root causes of our current crises while changing nappies.
Heart-based living has the hallmark of appearing foolish to the head. The ‘letting-go’ of security in times of uncertainty allows for the ‘letting-come’ of new steps of change. Each day challenges me to be courageous in small yet self-defining ways. I can’t claim to be anything like a master in this, but I have no doubt I am walking the right path.
Giles Hutchins will be speaking about this new paradigm at The Hub in Islington on 10thDecember, to attend book here .